Leonard Ravenhill used to always say “Christianity is not N-O-T, a sinning religion.” He would also say “It isn’t that it is impossible for a Christian to sin, however it is possible for a Christian not to sin, and that distinction makes all the difference in the world.”
Unfortunately when speaking about the possibility of not sinning the majority of Christians will turn you off immediately. The well versed Christian will quickly point you to 1 John 1:10 which reads: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” Certainly that verse is true, and is in perfect accord with Paul in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The question I have for those who quote 1 John 1:10 is whether or not they have read the next verse?
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
(1 John 2:1)
There is a little 2 letter word in that verse that makes all the difference in the world, IF anyone sins… The normal Christian life is not a life of sin. Read the rest of John’s first epistle, you can not read that honestly and believe that a Christian life can be marked by continuous sin. I am so sick of hearing people talk about human nature, and our wicked free will. If you have been born again, that free will of yours now desires righteousness, and carnality and sin is a very unnatural thing for you. John goes on writing in 1 John…
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
(1 John 2:3-5)
I am not going to commentate on these verses, let them stand as they are. Again I recognize that I personally am not perfect, and I am thankful that I have an Advocate with the Father, but at the same time I do not have a sin nature that runs continually to sin, and continually desires sin, that nature has been crucified. If you cannot honestly say that, well, maybe you ought to heed Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith, examine yourselves, or do you not know this about yourselves, that Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test.”
Did Jesus tell the woman caught in adultery to go, and sin less? Of course not, He said “Go and sin no more.” This was before the promised Holy Spirit came… do not believe for a minute that we who are indwelt with
the Spirit of God have an excuse to sin. Again, I think the genuine believer does have a tendency to try to find a place for assurance in the scripture when they have sinned, and there are a few places that we always run. We run to 1 John 1:9-10, Romans 7, and Luke 15 among other places. We do not run to verses like 1 John 2:1-5, or 2 Corinthians 5:17, Jude 24, and others.
Unfortunately the verses we avoid in times of sin are the very verses we need the most. Think of 1 John 2:1… yes it states clearly IF anyone sins, immediately we recognize that sin is not normal in the Christian life… this should bring us joy because when we sin it certainly leaves us feeling abnormal. Do not comfort yourself by saying sin is normal. Moreover we should be comforted because If anyone sins… we have an Advocate with the Father! That is a joyful thing.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,
So you have sinned, you have an Advocate, and more over He is able to keep you from stumbling the next time!!
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are a new creature… if you were not you could be content in your sin, or make excuses for your sin. However your old nature is gone. The new nature loathes the sin you have committed, and rejoices at the thought that God is able to keep you from stumbling.
This business about the perpetually sinning Christian is a load of garbage. That sounds a lot like sin abounding so that grace can abound even more, to which the apostle Paul would give a resounding... God forbid!! So let’s look practically at this. Again we are not talking about sinless perfection in the sense of never sinning again, but what we are looking at is the power to not sin in the present. In other words you can get up from reading this blog and face the world having faith that He can keep you from stumbling. Do not dare say “No He can’t,” you come close to blaspheming if you say that.
keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.
There is a sense of keeping yourself in the love of God. So long as you keep yourself in the love of God by faith you will not sin. When you do not keep faith, or you disbelieve His promises concerning keeping you from stumbling, that is when you and I fall into sin.
((That was a bit of a ramble, good job to anyone who read this far))